Tags: New York | AG | Eric Schneiderman | Trump University | Fraud

New York AG Eric Schneiderman: Trump University 'Straight-Up Fraud'

(ABC/"Good Morning America")

By    |   Thursday, 02 Jun 2016 08:47 AM

Trump University "was a straight-up fraud," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday, while denying Donald Trump's claims that legal actions against the now-defunct school are politically motivated against his candidacy for the White House.

"In New York, we have laws against business fraud, we have laws against consumer fraud," Schneiderman told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on the "Good Morning America" program. 

"We have a law against running an illegal unlicensed university. This never was a university. The fraud started with the name of the organization and you can't just go around saying this is the George Stephanopoulos law firm, hospital, university without actually qualifying and registering, so it was really a fraud from beginning to end."

Trump earlier this week blasted Schneiderman, repeating his claims that the lawsuit had been filed in 2013 to coincide with President Barack Obama's visit to Syracuse, and that he filed it after one of the law firms involved donated $10,000 to his campaign for attorney general.

But Schneiderman in March pointed out that during that same time period, Trump himself donated $12,500 to his campaign.

On Thursday, Schneiderman told Stephanopoulos that the case was brought in 2013 after more than a year of extensive negotiations with Trump, pushing back on the anchor's question about Schneiderman being a member of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton's leadership council.

"If I had come on your show and said in August 2013 he would be the Republican nominee for president, you probably never would have invited me back up," he said. "It's not political. It's a straight up fraud."

And while Trump has often said he was looking at a national campaign, "in the summer of 2013 this was just a fraud case," said Schneiderman. "[We were] bringing cases against different for profit colleges. This stuck out like a sore thumb. It was remarkable."

Trump has said his namesake university was a philanthropic venture, Schneiderman continued, but "initial estimates are that he personally pocketed $5 million from this . . . We'll get more information when we get to the damages phase of the trial, but we're confident he didn't do this for free."

Trump could also be called to testify even if he is elected president, said Schneiderman.

"He doesn't have immunity from civil fraud trials," said Schneiderman. "Thousands of people paid millions believing he would teach them their real estate tactics and we know from his own sworn testimony he didn't write the curriculum. None were his secrets and bilked millions out of money and we're going to make sure he pays it back."

Schneiderman also appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, where he called Trump University a "straight up fraud. It's like selling people a Mercedes and getting a Volkswagen. Even if people say, 'I kind of like the Volkswagen,' it's still fraud."

Trump's role was to serve as "the pitchman," said Schneiderman, and there is sworn testimony in his case that "undercuts every statement" Trump makes in his video tapes.

"He and the president of the university already testified under oath he never met the instructors, weren't handpicked, weren't experts," said Schneiderman. "Some of them came out of fast-food and retail and he had nothing to do with the supposed secrets, nothing to do with the curriculum."

And, continued the prosecutor, Trump "duped" the students.

"The law protects the gullible as well as the sophisticated," Schneiderman said. "As we've seen over the course of the last year, there are a lot of people who fall for Mr. Trump's promises and rhetoric. In this case they were carefully documented plans."

Trump has been deposed in California, but not in New York, where "we don't need to depose Donald Trump," said Schneiderman, and he would be "surprised if any of the cases go to trial before the November election."

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Trump University "was a straight-up fraud," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday, while denying Donald Trump's claims that legal actions against the now-defunct school are politically motivated against his candidacy for the White House.
New York, AG, Eric Schneiderman, Trump University, Fraud
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Thursday, 02 Jun 2016 08:47 AM
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